Ugandan royal traces family tree to Poland

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The ruler of the western Ugandan kingdom of Bunyoro, King Solomon Iguru I, has asked local officials in the sleepy southern Polish town of Nysa to help him trace his family tree which is rooted there.

The Ugandan royal is the grandson of 19th century explorer Emin Pasha, born Eduard Schnitzer into a Germano-Jewish family in 1840 in what is now the southern Polish city of Opole, but at the time was Oppeln, part of the German-speaking region of Silesia.

Later the family moved to Neisse, now Nysa. After finishing his studies as a physician, he worked as a doctor in various parts of the Ottoman Empire before moving on to Egypt and Khartoum, North Sudan, then south to Uganda's Bunyoro area where he was employed by British colonial powers as an administrator.

Schnitzer adopted the Ottoman identity Mehmet Emin and was accorded the senior Ottoman political title of Pasha.

"We received a letter in which the King asked us to help him delve into the past of his grandfather, Eduard Schnitzer," Nysa city official Michal Baziuk told local media this week.

In an initial response, Nysa officials have begun researching the issue and invited King Solomon Iguru I to visit his globe-trotting grandfather's hometown.

Aside from working for British colonists, Emin Pasha also explored central Africa and became a naturalist, collecting African flora and fauna later brought to Europe. He died in 1892, killed by Arab slave traders.

© 2011 AFP

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